Summer Camp Safety

Photo: Catlin Gabel Summer Camps

First things first — don’t send your kiddo to camp if he or anyone in the household is sick. Regular symptom and temperature checks will be the norm this year.

As of press time, there are no specific guidelines for summer camps. However, outdoor camps will follow Oregon state’s Youth Programs guidance when caring for kids age 13 and older, and the Child Care and Early Education guidance when serving children from kindergarten to age 12.

This includes but is not limited to:

• Keeping daily logs for potential contract tracing

• Organized drop-off/check-in process

• Daily health checks of all campers and staff

• Physical distancing with a minimum of 35 square feet per person

• Minimized time waiting around

• Face coverings for all campers in grades kindergarten and up, along with all staff

The full “Ready Schools, Safe Learners” guidance materials can be found via the Oregon Health Authority website.

Many camps will release information about changes later in the spring and throughout the summer. The Alliance of Oregon Camps Association is in collaboration with the American Camp Association (ACA) and the Oregon Health Authority, so camps can communicate this information as soon as possible. The ACA’s recently released COVID-19 and 2020 Camps report shows that preventative measures like health screenings, masking, quarantining and more limited the spread within camps that were in session. While as of press time overnight camps aren’t allowed, several sleepaway camps are hopeful to get the green light later in the spring.

When making the decision to send your kiddos to camp, consider these COVID-19-related questions:

• What are the daily cleaning and sanitizing procedures? Does this include bathrooms?

• What are the drop-off and pickup procedures? 

• Where will the campers and staff eat lunch? 

• How many different staff members will be interacting with your child during a session? 

• What is the camp’s sick policy? 

• How confident is the camp in ensuring safety among its staff, campers and families?

• What is the communication protocol for informing camp families about a COVID-19 diagnosis?

• If camp is canceled due to a COVID-19 diagnosis, what is the refund policy?

Amy Crawford
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